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LFP: Media Paints Parents as Liars

Date: MAY-30-02
Source: London Free Press
Keywords: diluting evidence, collecting evidence
Comment: See comments below to understand this biased media spin.
Posted: JUN-03-02
Aylmer Case Index

Church of God parents recant earlier statements

By JONATHAN SHER, Free Press Reporter

ST. THOMAS -- A trial that will shape the future of a family in Aylmer's Church of God took a surprising turn yesterday when the parents recanted statements described as "very significant" by the judge.

Judge Eleanor Schnall, who has imposed a broad publication ban, ordered the media not to report the recanted statements.

But Schnall didn't forbid publication of the debate which pitted the parents' lawyers against lawyers for the children and Family and Children's Services.

"The father can't now come to court and say, 'I changed my mind,' " said agency lawyer Alfred Mamo. "I'm afraid there is some engineering going on to dilute evidence. That is a very serious matter."

The father swore to the truth of statements in an affidavit July 2 * -- weeks after his seven children were seized from his home. In November, the parents' lawyers affirmed the truthfulness of the statements in a court pleading. Earlier this year, the father again swore to their veracity.

But since the parents hadn't signed the pleading, Schnall ordered them to review, sign and return it yesterday. Instead, the parents' lawyers said their clients did not stand behind several statements

The father's lawyer, Michael Menear, said the change left the father in a vulnerable position, as did the father's explanation -- that the statement was true in November but not now, even though it referred exclusively to events that occurred before November.

"He's got some explaining to do . . . there's no doubt about it," Menear said.

The mother's lawyer, Valerie Wise, argued the parents were merely concerned about the wording of the statements.

But Schnall said the parents wanted to amend statements in ways that would "profoundly change" their position.

Also opposing an amendment was the children's lawyer, Donald Kilpatrick, who said the statements dealt with a "critical issue."

Earlier this week, Mamo said the agency is seeking to protect the children from excessive corporal punishment.

Menear and Wise have asked the court to toss out virtually all evidence because of the way it was collected.

Kilpatrick has taken a middle ground, saying all evidence should be considered, but that the seven children aren't in need of further protection.

Comment on article by case observer

Let me explain what they are talking about. It is like Valerie said. It is just the wording that the parents did not feel comfortable with. The parents were asked at the beginning of this whole thing if they believed that their spanking had ever left bruises or marks on their children. They had said that they believed that at times it could have. They wanted to be honest about it.

Since then, the lawyers have asked them if they can remember when they checked their children and what they found. You know how it works in court. They have to have facts. Well, the parents can't remember having checked their children and they can't remember having seen marks on them. Therefore, they had to retract that statement. But, of course, Jonathan Sher has to twist it so that it may sound like they are lying about something.

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